AmeriCorps VISTAs Reflect on Past Year

Mon, 2013-08-05 06:00
For the past year, three AmeriCorps VISTA members worked with Grameen America to help us expand our impact across the US. The VISTAs played key roles in branch planning and model implementation. Before their last day with us, we asked them a few questions about their experience at Grameen America. MARIBEL RIVERA-TUTTLE How did you get involved with Grameen America? I was introduced to microfinance while studying economics in my native Colombia. I was eager to see the impact microfinance could have if applied to my community, so I began to research the Nobel Peace Prize winning Grameen model created by Professor Yunus. When I came across an open position at Grameen America, I knew this was where I needed to be. What have you learned while working at Grameen America? In Colombia, we rarely hear about poverty in the US so I was surprised to find that 46 million Americans live in poverty. The most important thing I learned was the impact that a small loan can create in a community. I am happy to say that I will be joining the amazing team at Grameen America. I’ll continue to expand my knowledge of microfinance and more importantly, continue to help communities in the US. _________________________________________________________________________

ALANA CARSTENS

Describe a meaningful experience while working at Grameen America. The days that I visited the branches were the most meaningful. I had the opportunity to meet members who felt empowered because they now had the tools to generate income to build better lives for themselves and their families. What is next for you? In August I will start a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Grameen America was that people living in poverty are excluded from mainstream institutions ranging from banks to healthcare. I want to be a part of developing an improved community healthcare system across the US. *AmeriCorps VISTA Drew Cook was unable to come in at the time of interview. We wish him well in his future endeavors!

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